Sunday's game against the 11-1 Tennessee Titans in Nashville is a ‘good news, bad news' situation for Browns fans. The bad news is that with the season and 8 games already lost that the Browns are far better off losing the game and gaining in the race for a top 10 draft pick than they are winning a game that isn't going to matter in the standings.
The good news is that they're likely to have an easy time reaching that goal.
This is what passes as rooting interest when you're emotionally invested in a rotten team.
Much like we throw ourselves headlong into the Browns as soon as training camp rolls around true Browns fans should be rooting for some development from some young players and a few more losses on the scoreboard.
Just pray that they keep failing.
It's by no means an easy thing to do but it's clearly in the best interest of the organization.
The Browns currently would own the 10th pick in next April's draft by virtue of their stellar 4-8 record. Jacksonville and San Diego both are currently slated to pick ahead of the Browns despite identical 4-8 records but if I had to wager on one of the three teams winning another game or two the Browns would finish 3rd in that race. Moving up to 8th would give the Browns a legitimate shot at a talent like USC ILB Rey Maualuga. Maualuga would fill a huge need at ILB for the Browns but he'd also fill that same need for the Chargers if they remain in the 8th position come next April.
Green Bay and Houston are both pushing the Browns from a ‘crap-fest of a season' standpoint. Both those teams have but 5 wins on the season but the Texans may have ‘hurt' themselves by beating the Browns at CBS a couple weeks back. Green Bay and Houston also play each other this weekend while the Packers also play the winless Lions in the final week of the season.
For the Browns things are really looking good. Games against Tennessee, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh remain, all but the Bengals games on the road. Sure, the Browns could stumble into a home win in two weeks against Cincinnati but you have to appreciate the fact they'll go into that game a beaten, disorganized wreck and with Ken Dorsey under center should he survive the losses against the Titans and Eagles.
It's not just all about draft position though. Finishing the season with a few more losses and further unraveling in the locker room should put the nails in the Romeo Crennel era coffin if that thing isn't already sealed up tighter than a frog's ass.
You want to ensure that your Sundays next season are not ruined by watching a huge, stoic, immovable object ‘coach' of the Browns? Get on the L-Train for the next four weeks. You want to ensure that if Phil Savage survives this plane crash of a season that he has no more excuses for failing on his drafts? Give him the 4 wins on the season and the 8th pick in the draft with Maualuga on the board and see if he takes him.
This team is well past the point of no return as far as the playoffs go. They have been since the middle of September if you were paying attention. They're a national joke given the number of prime time games they were handed based on hopes and a cheap buzz generated by the Boone's Farm schedule they drank off of last season.
If it's got to be bad, and we'd all agree it has been, let it be horrible. Give me my Dorsey and my Bartel and throw in some Gradkowski under center.
Punish me for actually getting my hopes up when the schedule this season told me otherwise. Let me watch Willie McGinest finish his terrific career to the sound of laughter and boos not because of anything that's actually his fault (like the aging process) but because a coach who isn't a leader needed a 60 year-old linebacker to provide what the coach couldn't: respect in the clubhouse and organization on the field.
I'll take the ridicule. I'll take the talking heads laughing and rolling their eyes when the Browns and Eagles get together next Monday night. I'll take the shame of losing a dozen straight to the Steelers.
Make it worth something though. Don't let the season die in vain. Give us the chance to take the best football player possible and then give us the people to make that pick. No reaches, no projections, no whispers about how dumb the other guy is to let you get over on him. And then do it a few more times in rounds two through five.
Hand those football players over to a guy who can actually coach him and we're even. All is forgiven for the '08 debacle and we start fresh in '09 with a couple more football players than we have right now, one more guy who can coach than is on the sidelines right now and one less difficult schedule than we saw this past year.
But it all starts with a loss this Sunday. One loss at a time. Don't look past the Bengals and sneak out a win there either. Do the right thing. Even if it's just wrong. It's sacrilege to think that way in this town but this is what they've left us with.
This team can knock out 4 more losses with their eyes closed. They can show their esprit de corps by quitting at the first sign of adversity. They've done that pretty much all year.
Here's to 4 more games of crap. Get ‘er done boys.